1

barren

adjective bar·ren \ ˈber-ən , ˈba-rən \

Definition of barren

1 :not reproducing: such as
a :incapable of producing offspring used especially of females or matings
  • barren women
b :not yet or not recently pregnant
c of plants :habitually failing to fruit
  • barren apple trees
2 :not productive: such as
a :producing little or no vegetation :desolate
  • barren deserts
b :producing inferior crops
  • barren soil
c :unproductive of results or gain :fruitless
  • a barren scheme
3 :devoid, lacking used with of
  • barren of excitement
4 :lacking interest or charm
  • a barren routine
5 :lacking inspiration or ideas
  • a barren mind

barrenly

adverb

barrenness

play \-ə(n)-nəs\ noun

Examples of barren in a Sentence

  1. Few creatures can thrive on these barren mountaintops.

  2. The book was good, but I found the barren lives of the characters depressing.

Recent Examples of barren from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barren.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of barren

Middle English bareine, from Anglo-French barain, perhaps of Celt origin; akin to Middle Welsh brynar fallow land

Synonym Discussion of barren

bare, naked, nude, bald, barren mean deprived of naturally or conventionally appropriate covering. bare implies the removal of what is additional, superfluous, ornamental, or dispensable.
    • an apartment with bare walls
naked suggests absence of protective or ornamental covering but may imply a state of nature, of destitution, or of defenselessness.
    • poor half-naked children
nude applies especially to the unclothed human figure.
    • a nude model posing for art students
bald implies actual or seeming absence of natural covering and may suggest a conspicuous bareness.
    • a bald mountain peak
barren often suggests aridity or impoverishment or sterility.
    • barren plains

2

barren

noun

Definition of barren

1 barrens plural, geography :an extent of usually level land having an inferior growth of trees or little vegetation
2 :a tract of barren land

Examples of barren in a Sentence

  1. lived out in the barrens where it was impossible to grow anything

Recent Examples of barren from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barren.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of barren

noun derivative of 1barren



BARREN Defined for English Language Learners

barren

adjective

Definition of barren for English Language Learners

  • : having very few plants : not suitable for plants

  • : not producing fruit or not able to produce fruit

  • of a woman or female animal : not able to produce children or offspring


BARREN Defined for Kids

barren

adjective bar·ren \ ˈber-ən \

Definition of barren for Students

1 :unable to produce seed, fruit, or young
  • barren plants
2 :growing only poor or few plants
  • barren soil

Medical Dictionary

barren

adjective bar·ren \ ˈbar-ən \

medical Definition of barren

:incapable of producing offspring used especially of females or matings

barrenness

play \-ən-nəs\ noun


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